A practical, non-technical guide to survey analysis
Feedback loops—what your customers think, feel, or do as they interact with your product—are critical to product development and business growth. Analyzing data from customer surveys requires getting organized. With a few tips, you can make survey analysis smooth to save time so you can build winning product and customer experiences.
First of all, what are surveys?
Surveys are a powerful way to find customer insights in feedback. They allow you to ask precise questions and you can execute them at a time of your choosing. Specifically, surveys:
- Are for collecting feedback
- Consist of closed plus open ended questions
- Can be done with tools like Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, Typeform, SurveySparrow, Delighted and more
Why conduct surveys?
You can tailor your survey to a specific event (e.g. customer support interaction) to understand customer satisfaction levels; or do them quarterly to understand how your customers feel about you over time.
The responses can tell you:
- What makes customers happy
- What makes customers frustrated
- Why customers churn
- How to improve customer retention
- What initiatives to continue or improve
- What product decisions to make
- Which types of customers are the best fit
- Whether your brand has advocates
With these insights, you’ll be able to tackle customer-centric initiatives more quickly, whether that’s addressing customer complaints, crafting relevant messages and campaigns, or improving your product.
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What questions to include in your survey
How many questions to include in your survey is as important as the types of questions to use. It’ll depend on what you’re looking to learn.
Most customer experience surveys should aim for no more than 5 or so questions. The shorter they are, the higher the chance customers will complete them.
Use NPS surveys to assess how your customers feel about you over time. NPS surveys specifically measure the likelihood that customers will recommend your product or service. You’ll want to track this score across time to identify what areas to improve, inform business strategy, and keep a pulse on your evolving market.
The primary question NPS surveys ask is:
How likely are you to recommend (product name) to others?
Respondents are given the option to rate you on a scale of 1 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Ratings of 1-6 are called detractors. 7-8 are passives. 9-10 are promoters. Your NPS score is measured as:
% of promoters - % of detractors = NPS score (usually expressed without the %)
Example: 60% of all respondents gave a 9-10 score and 15% gave a 1-6 score
60% - 15% = 45% → NPS score of 45
Average NPS scores hover in the 30-40 range, depending on industry. Scores 70+ are rare. Delighted’s handy NPS benchmarking tool shows average NPS scores per industry.
Open ended follow up questions: where the richest feedback lives
The follow up, open-ended questions in an NPS survey are where it gets interesting: you’ll use them to learn the reasons behind the ratings given. Limit your follow up questions to no more than two if possible. Questions such as:
- Please describe why you gave that rating.
- What was missing or disappointing in your experience with our product?
- What one thing could we do to improve our product?
- [Alternate] What is the one thing we can do to make you happier?
- What do you like most about our product?
- [Alternate] What feature do you value the most?
- What do you like least about our product?
Customer satisfaction surveys typically help you understand your customer’s experience around a specific transaction. They can also be used to gauge your relationship with customers more broadly over time. For simplicity, we’ll focus on the transactional CSAT survey here.
When requesting feedback about a specific transaction like a purchase or support request, experts recommend doing so immediately after the transaction while it’s fresh in the customer’s mind. Alternatively, you can wait a period of time, such as a few days.
Similar to an NPS survey, the first and primary question to ask in a CSAT survey is for the customer’s rating of their satisfaction with a transaction. The question could be:
- How would you rate your experience for this transaction?
- How satisfied were you with your experience today?
- Overall, how happy are you with the service provided in this interaction?
A 1-5 scale works (e.g. very dissatisfied to very satisfied).
Additional close-ended questions can be added depending on what you’re trying to learn. For example, you can measure your customer’s perception of the agent’s knowledge of the issue, why a customer chose to buy your specific product, or their intended use of your product into the future.
Open-ended follow up questions in your CSAT surveys are recommended to get details about your customer interactions that will help you improve your support processes, products, and overall business strategy. Make sure to include questions such as:
- What could we have done to make your experience even better?
- How can we improve (product)?
- Tell us about the feature you value most.
- How would you describe your customer service experience with us?
Read Part 2 for how to prepare customer survey data for analysis.